FM Szijjártó: Hungary takes in refugees fleeing war in Ukraine, but still refuses to let in illegal migrants

Hungary will take in all refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine but will continue to keep its borders closed to illegal migrants, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said at the UN Human Rights Council General Assembly in Geneva on Wednesday.

The minister stressed that the Christian values of the Hungarian government are a guarantee for the full implementation of human rights, adding that the war in Ukraine violates the most basic human rights, posing a serious security risk. The government must ensure that the people of Ukraine can live in peace and security, and there can be no compromise on this issue, he said.

The three main tasks are to ensure the security of the Hungarian people, that Hungary does not drift into war, and that Hungarians are not made to pay the price of this war, he underlined.

A significant army force has been redeployed to the eastern border region, but no transfer of lethal weapons will be allowed through Hungary, he said, adding that “at the same time, we understand and respect that some of our allies have decided otherwise.”

He also highlighted that the government would not support decisions that jeopardize the security of Hungary’s energy supply. “Eliminating Russian energy dependence is not realistic even from one year to the next,” he said.

Regarding the refugee situation, Minister Szijjártó said that more than half a million refugees had already arrived in Hungary, and further waves of refugees are expected as the situation worsens. However, he also noted that although Hungary and Poland are hosting the largest number of refugees, and Hungary is carrying out the largest humanitarian operation in its history, “Brussels is withholding the funds due to the two countries.”

On illegal immigration, he said that Hungarian authorities would still not allow into the country those not coming from a neighboring war-torn country but from thousands of kilometers away, passing through several safe states. As for the refugees from Ukraine, he said that, unlike migrants, they use the official crossing points, where they wait patiently, show respect, register and are thankful for our help. He added that 123,000 migrants were stopped at Hungary’s southern border last year and 34,000 so far this year, “taking a huge burden off the shoulders of Western European countries.”

“Dangerous proposals are currently on the agenda of international organizations,” he said, because “no-fly zones would entail air warfare” and “sending ground troops called ‘peacekeepers’ is problematic in the absence of peace.” All these open a new dimension to the risk of further escalating the war, he said.

On the child protection referendum, the minister explained that it is the parents’ exclusive right to educate minors about sexuality, and it is also important that children are not exposed to harmful content that is not appropriate for their age.

Péter Szijjártó said in conclusion that, within the framework of the UN’s five-yearly procedure to assess the human rights situation in its member states, the Council had made 267 proposals to Hungary, of which 131 were accepted and 136 were noted. Some of the latter were rejected because they called for measures that were contrary to Hungary’s Fundamental Law or because they were politically motivated.